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'total' can be attributively used as an adjective Options
A cooperator
Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 6:00:04 PM

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Hi Everyone!
I am wondering if 'total' is here okay to be attributively used as an adjective. In the first sentence, though I see it wondrous strange!

I told everyone: the police, my neighbors, my friends and family, total strangers, and I am here today because you all helped me.

We had a total new approach which, while offering the free file hosting services, mainly concentrated on.

I was told I would have used "totally" instead of "total" in the sentence.
So, it should read:

"We had a totally new approach which, while offering the free file hosting services, mainly concentrated on Unlimited Storage space,...and so forth."

thar
Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 6:18:14 PM

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Total is an adjective, and modifies a noun
a stranger
a total stranger

(although be aware this is an idiomatic usage)


the adverb is 'totally'

an adjective is modified by an adverb
an approach (noun)
a new approach (adjective + noun)
a totally new approach (adverb + adjective + noun)

This is not a 'total approach'. The word 'totally' does not refer to the noun.
It is a new approach. The approach is totally new.
The adverb 'totally' says how new it is.

eg
It is a slightly new approach
It is a totally new approach.
A cooperator
Posted: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 9:37:11 PM

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thar wrote:
Total is an adjective, and modifies a noun
a stranger
a total stranger

(although be aware this is an idiomatic usage)


Thanks to you, Thar,
I cannot understand 'total' can be used as an attributive adjective. That is, what does it mean with:
a total stranger
total strangers
a total new approach

I can understand the use of "I told a total of strangers".
sureshot
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 1:15:16 AM
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A cooperator wrote:


I cannot understand 'total' can be used as an attributive adjective. That is, what does it mean with:
a total stranger
total strangers
a total new approach

I can understand the use of "I told a total of strangers".

______________

Let me try to clarify.

1. The adjective "total" can be used as an attributive adjective i.e. preceding the word that it modifies and expressing an attribute.

2. In the expression "a total (= complete) stranger" the noun is "stranger" and "total" is an attributive adjective of the noun "stranger". Similarly, in the expression "total strangers", "total" functions as an attributive adjective of the plural noun "strangers".

3. Your last expression is "a total new approach". This is incorrect. Here, the adjective "total" modifies the ensuing adjective "new". This is incorrect. An adjective should be modified by an adverb and not an adjective.The adverb form of adjective "total" is "totally". So,the correct expression is "a totally new approach".

4. To me, your sentence "I told a total of strangers" is incorrect. You should say "I told a number of strangers".

5. Remember, that "total" can be used as an adjective or a noun. It can also be used as a verb. The adverb form is "totally" and not "total".


BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 2:17:26 AM
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A cooperator wrote:

I cannot understand 'total' can be used as an attributive adjective. That is, what does it mean with:
a total stranger



total adjective

You can use total to emphasize that something is as great in extent, degree, or amount as it possibly can be.

You were a total failure if you hadn't married by the time you were about twenty-three.
There was an almost total lack of management control.
Why should we trust a total stranger?

I have total confidence that things will change.


A total stranger is somebody you have never seen or heard of in your life before.
thar
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 2:44:09 AM

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A cooperator wrote:
thar wrote:
Total is an adjective, and modifies a noun
a stranger
a total stranger

(although be aware this is an idiomatic usage)


Thanks to you, Thar,
I cannot understand 'total' can be used as an attributive adjective. That is, what does it mean with:
a total stranger
total strangers
a total new approach This is wrong - it doesn't mean anything.


I can understand the use of "I told a total of strangers".
This is also wrong. 'a total' is a noun, but you can't use it this way.


These are different words. I think you are trying to give one meaning to all the words, but they are different parts of speech - noun, adjective, adverb, and they are used to express different meanings.

Look at a sentence in context and understand what it means. There are lots of sentences about 'a total stranger' that you will be able to see and understand what it means.

Also, there are two different things
a noun phrase, which can be the subject or object of a sentence:
What you did was wrong.
I saw what you did.
Despite what you did, I love you.


There is no ' the fact that' with a noun phrase.

a clause:
the weather was cold
this is a statment, and you can't make it into the subject or object of a verb.
the weather was cold was wrong. NO, that makes no sense.
So you have to add ' the fact that'
Despite the fact that the weather was cold, we went for a walk.

You are still having trouble with basics like adjectives and adverbs, so I really advise you to stop learning from grammar books - this method of teaching yourself is not working fo you, as you are trying to apply rules instead of experiencing the language first and then seeing the rules. Then you get caught up in problems about terminology instead of getting a feel for how a sentence works. [/color]

edit

You are confusing yourself because you are looking at the words, not the sentence.
"What had happened" - what does this mean to you|? It is not a sentence - it means nothing on its own.
If there were a question mark, you could have a question.
What had happened? I didn't know.
Without the question mark it can be a noun phrase, the subject of a sentence
What had happened was sad.


edit
I started to write before Bob and for some reason forgot to post [Ah - actually I think I confused the two threads]. I have used the terminology as best I know it, so it might not match the grammar books. But the important thing is for you to experience sentences in context, then you can remember them, and see how the examples in the grammar book match your experience.
BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 3:27:36 AM
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thar wrote:
Look at a sentence in context and understand what it means.
[...]
You are still having trouble with basics like adjectives and adverbs, so I really advise you to stop learning from grammar books - this method of teaching yourself is not working fo you, as you are trying to apply rules instead of experiencing the language first and then seeing the rules.
[...]
You are confusing yourself because you are looking at the words, not the sentence.
the important thing is for you to experience sentences in context, then you can remember them, and see how the examples in the grammar book match your experience.

Applause Applause Applause
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 5:28:26 AM

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Acoop,

Can you interpret for the rest of us what you mean by:

"In the first sentence, though I see it wondrous strange!"

"We had a total new approach which mainly concentrated on." (the middle, dependent sentence dropped)


While many of us here have tried to explain things to you, you keep asking the same questions again and again.
Grammar terminology is not the first thing to learn when learning a language. You are trying to climb the tree with your arse first.


A cooperator
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 7:08:37 AM

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thar wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
I can understand the use of "I told a total of strangers".
This is also wrong. 'a total' is a noun, but you can't use it this way.


Thank you, all of you very much indeed,
Then 'a total of ....' cannot be used to modifying the object of a verb or a preposition. But, it can be used to modify a subject of a sentence, clause.
A total of 21 horses were entered for the race.
21 horses in total were entered for the race.
A total of 10 babies are sleeping.
Ten babies in total are sleeping.


What do you think about this explanation below given after someone asked:
Which one is the correct one?
A total of 10 babies is sleeping. (A)
A total of 10 babies are sleeping. (B)
Ten babies in total are sleeping. (C)

Quote:
The explanation:
(B) is perfectly correct in either American or British English. Take a look at this example from the Cambridge Dictionaries Online:

A total of 21 horses were entered for the race.

(C) is also correct, as ten babies is explicitly plural, and should thus take the plural are.

(A) is not correct because the collective noun total should always be treated in the plural sense when

it is explicitly used with the word, number, or the word, number, is implied (in a strict sense*),
the items being counted are identified/clarified/specified, AND
the size of the number is given.
In the following examples, all conditions are satisfied:

A total of number of 3500 students were at the seminar. [Plural]
A total [number] of 11 shells are in my possession. [Plural]
In this example, conditions (1) and (2) are satisfied, but condition (3) isn't:

The total number of students in attendance was unbelievably large. [Singular]
In the first sentence of this example, only condition (3) is satisfied, while none of the conditions is satisfied in the second sentence:

My total is 11. Theirs is much higher. [Singular]
Finally, in this case, condition (1) is not satisfied:

'How many pennies do we now have?' 'The current total is 22.' [Singular]
Thus, total should be treated as singular whenever these conditions are not satisfied at the same time. (This rule should not be applied with the construction There is/are.)

The agreement between nouns (collective, in this case) and verbs is called concord and much has been published on its often confusing rules of usage. The most interesting and informative article I found in the course of answering this question, was "Concord", by Marianne Drennan. (It is of South African origin, so it is likely closer to British English but, excellent article nonetheless.)

Also of note is the pronounced difference in the treatment of collective nouns between British and American English. Some collective nouns are mostly treated as singular in American English but often considered plural in British English. Two quick examples are team and family. See this note on grammar at Oxford Dictionaries Online for more information on this phenomenon. The treatment of total, however, transcends this analysis for the most part. Consider, however, another interesting example provided, in part, by the asker (@xport):

There are ten babies. [Universally correct]
There are ten babies in total. [Universally correct]
There are a total of ten babies. [Plural. British?]
There is a total of ten babies. [Singular. American?]
I'm not sure if the British/American analysis holds here, as one would find both forms (there is/there are) widely used. There are certainly sounds better, but some would argue that there is is more correct, because, strictly speaking, total by itself should be a singular noun. ("Says who?" others may counter!) Consider this, though:

There is/are a total number of ten babies. [?!]

I will not comment on this. Suffice it to say that this worrisome situation can always be avoided.




Since I see this explanation given above for the use of so little a phrase 'a total of' is too long to be understood, could anyone please say the use of 'a total of' in brief?

BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 7:55:49 AM
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A cooperator wrote:
Since I see this explanation given above for the use of so little a phrase 'a total of' is too long to be understood,

I have no idea what you mean by that. Could you attempt to rephrase it?
Ravindra
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 8:20:09 AM
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Jyrkkä Jätkä, your illustration, I still think, is anodyne (intended to avoid causing offence or disagreement, especially by not expressing strong feelings or opinions. Cambridge Dictionary).


Never trade respect for attention.
That's life.
sureshot
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 8:35:59 AM
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A cooperator said "could anyone please say the use of 'a total of' in brief?"

Perhaps the following should help:

A total of

The expression "a total of" can be followed by a singular or plural verb. It depends on the noun after "of" e.g.

- A total of 10 babies are sleeping. (The use of plural verb is correct, because you are thinking of each baby individually.)

- A total of four meetings were held to discuss the issue.(The use of plural verb is correct, because you are thinking of each meeting separately.)

- A total of five people are required for this task.(The use of plural verb is correct, because you are thinking of each person individually.)

- A total of $550 was spent on purchase of books for the library.(The use of singular verb is correct, because you are thinking of the total amount considered collectively or as an amount.)

General rule: Use a plural verb after "a total of ..." if the noun after the preposition "of" is plural or has a plural use.

The total + verb

- The total of 20 and 30 is fifty.

The expression "the total" has the sense of "the sum total". It refers to the whole of an amount when everything is considered together.

General rule: Use a singular verb when the sense of "total" is the final number or amount of things, people etc when everything has been counted together.

I hope these examples help you in resolving your query.



A cooperator
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 9:33:02 AM

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BobShilling wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
Since I see this explanation given above for the use of so little a phrase 'a total of' is too long to be understood,

I have no idea what you mean by that. Could you attempt to rephrase it?


Since I see this explanation given above for the use of such a little phrase 'a total of' is too long to be understood,......
Audiendus
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 10:00:59 AM
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A cooperator wrote:
thar wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
I can understand the use of "I told a total of strangers".
This is also wrong. 'a total' is a noun, but you can't use it this way.

Thank you, all of you very much indeed,
Then 'a total of ....' cannot be used to modifying the object of a verb or a preposition.

Yes it can:

I told a total of 10 strangers.
I told it to a total of 10 strangers.


But "I told a total of strangers" is wrong. Its meaning is not clear. What did you think it meant?
A cooperator
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 1:08:22 PM

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Audiendus wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
thar wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
I can understand the use of "I told a total of strangers".
This is also wrong. 'a total' is a noun, but you can't use it this way.

Thank you, all of you very much indeed,
Then 'a total of ....' cannot be used to modifying the object of a verb or a preposition.

Yes it can:

I told a total of 10 strangers.
I told it to a total of 10 strangers.


But "I told a total of strangers" is wrong. Its meaning is not clear. What did you think it meant?

I thought it meant a number/group/several of strangers. I didn't care about the specific number of them. "I told a total/number/group/several of strangers"
Sorry, you have exceeded the maximum total/number of free trials.
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 1:30:28 PM

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Using this TFD it takes about one minute to find the difference between total and number/several/group.
BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 2:47:21 PM
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A cooperator wrote:
BobShilling wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
Since I see this explanation given above for the use of so little a phrase 'a total of' is too long to be understood,

I have no idea what you mean by that. Could you attempt to rephrase it?


Since I see this explanation given above for the use of such a little phrase 'a total of' is too long to be understood,......


I said 'rephrase', not 'repeat'.

Brick wall
A cooperator
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 4:51:43 PM

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BobShilling wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
BobShilling wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
Since I see this explanation given above for the use of so little a phrase 'a total of' is too long to be understood,

I have no idea what you mean by that. Could you attempt to rephrase it?


Since I see this explanation given above for the use of such a little phrase 'a total of' is too long to be understood,......


I said 'rephrase', not 'repeat'.

Brick wall

Why do only you not understand that sentence of mine?

Have you seen the quote of someone's explanation given for how to use 'a total of' in my 3-rd post?
I see that explanation for the use 'a total of' is too much to be followed, although the phrase 'a total of' looks a little bit simple.
BobShilling
Posted: Thursday, March 28, 2019 5:50:43 PM
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A cooperator wrote:

Why do only you not understand that sentence of mine?


Mea culpa, mea culpa,mea máxima culpa.
Consider my garments rent, my breast beaten, sackcloth donned and ashes administered.
A cooperator
Posted: Monday, April 1, 2019 10:32:51 AM

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Audiendus wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
thar wrote:
A cooperator wrote:
I can understand the use of "I told a total of strangers".
This is also wrong. 'a total' is a noun, but you can't use it this way.

Thank you, all of you very much indeed,
Then 'a total of ....' cannot be used to modifying the object of a verb or a preposition.

Yes it can:

I told a total of 10 strangers.
I told it to a total of 10 strangers.


But "I told a total of strangers" is wrong. Its meaning is not clear. What did you think it meant?


Even the meaning of "total strangers" looks unclear. Does it mean "all, entire/whole strangers" ?
A cooperator
Posted: Monday, April 1, 2019 10:37:56 AM

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BobShilling wrote:
A cooperator wrote:

Why do only you not understand that sentence of mine?


Mea culpa, mea culpa,mea máxima culpa


I am not learning Romanian language. Let me first finish English.
Don't be arrogant, please. I know many Yemenis, who are very very very bad in English, could graduate with doctorate degrees from many universities in English-speaking countries.
BobShilling
Posted: Monday, April 1, 2019 11:03:26 AM
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A cooperator wrote:

Even the meaning of "total strangers" looks unclear. Does it mean "all, entire/whole strangers" ?

I told you on 28 March. "A total stranger is somebody you have never seen or heard of in your life before."
BobShilling
Posted: Monday, April 1, 2019 11:09:27 AM
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A cooperator wrote:
BobShilling wrote:

Mea culpa, mea culpa,mea maxima culpa


I am not learning Romanian language.


It was Latin.

Quote:
Don't be arrogant, please.

d'oh!

Quote:
I know many Yemenis, who are very very very bad in English, could graduate with doctorate degrees from many universities in English-speaking countries.

What has that got to do with anything we are talking about?
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 6:26:04 AM

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ACoop,

now you have totally excelled yourself!

d'oh! Whistle
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